Monday, June 28, 2010

Return to Ukraine

Last night on EWTN, I watched the last half of a program called Holy Roman Spies. The title sensationalized the subject-matter, as the 'spies' of the program were rather missionaries to the Soviet Union by way of Ukraine during World War II. They were all trained at the Collegium Russicum in Rome. The program also included accounts of the college's possible infiltration by the Soviet KGB, though most of the the interviewees from the college couldn't figure out why the Soviets would have been interested in such an institution. Right...

This morning, I was directed by an email to this article by Sandro Magister discussing the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church and its relationship with the Orthodox of Russia. Long time readers will remember that when we last left the two sides, there was much hostility, not only between the Catholics and the Orthodox, but between various Orthodox factions fighting for legitimacy.

Magister's article today discusses the thawing of relations between Rome and the East and how this has affected things in Ukraine. The primary reason is that Benedict himself is German and not Polish, the ethnicity of John Paul II being one of the major wedge issues of the past due to the historic tension between Russia and Poland with Ukraine in the middle. One of the secondary reasons is that Benedict has dropped all efforts to establish the Ukrainian Greek Catholic patriarchate and has focused instead on cooperation with the Orthodox in evangelizing the larger segment of the Ukrainian population that is outside the Christian Church.

Though tensions in one sphere have eased, Magister points to another where the Greek Catholics have come under attack through pressure by the pro-Russian Ukrainian government through subtle oppression by the security services and lack of formal legal recognition or state monies, which instead go to the Orthodox Church.

To be continued.

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